Red Lentil Soup with Ham and Curry

While brown lentils are something most are aware of, I’ve discovered red ones and used in this Red Lentil Soup with Ham and Curry they helped create a soup that really hit the spot!

Red Lentil Soup with Ham

When I was growing up we never went out to dinner. With six kids I can imagine it would have been prohibitively expensive but more than that I can imagine my parents did not anticipate it as fun trying to corral all of us in a restaurant. Thankfully my mom was a good cook…though in retrospect I realize she really did the basics a lot. I can assure you that red lentils were never in our pantry!

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Spaghetti, meatloaf, fried chicken and grilled hamburgers made their way onto our table with regularity as did fish sticks every Friday night that I can remember. In the winter it would be casseroles, roasts or soups and I remember those soups. Chicken with Dumplings, Split Pea Soup, and Brown Lentil Soup. I love them all still and make them much in the same way my mother did all those many years ago.

But the truth is some soups aren’t very pretty and can be hard to photograph so I’ve never bothered putting my brown lentil soup recipe on the blog. Then I discovered some red lentils. They are so pretty! Really more orange but still a far cry from a dirt brown color. This Red Lentil Soup with Ham and Curry made the grade and it’s a delicious and easy one too.

White Bean Soup with Ham

I had just seen someone post about a white bean soup she had made using a ham bone left over from the Honey Baked Ham she had served for Christmas dinner and it made me want some soup. BAD. I recall thinking that it sure would be nice if I could just purchase a ham bone from them and not the whole ham; you know, just to make soup.

It hit me right after saying that; I wonder if you can? I knew that Honey Baked Hams also sold sandwiches; wouldn’t that result in a leftover ham bone too? I thought it worthy of a phone call and to my complete delight, they do!

Not kidding…I was dressed and in the car within 15 minutes of that phone call and back home in a half hour with some canned white beans and a ham bone chock full of meat that had cost me $2.25 a pound. Can you say score?

I only used half of the ham on that bone for the white bean soup so started to think about what else I could make. That bag of red lentils in the pantry were now crying to me. I took the easiest route possible with this soup. Overnight in a crockpot…another SCORE!

Note: I made this soup years before I had an Instant Pot; it would be a great candidate for that kitchen appliance too!

Red Lentil Soup with Ham

Lentils fall apart much quicker than larger beans so the overnight cooking really did turn them and the veggies into a smooth and less chunky soup but I’m glad I did it. The ham fell off the bone and it was tender and so flavorful. And simple.

Beyond the basics of carrots, onion, celery, stock and beans was some curry. Some good curry. Some oh my that is fabulous curry. The only minor negative? That initial moment when I woke in the morning and smelled something unfamiliar. There was a moment of huh? What? Oh yeah, that. Whew.

Talk about an easy and super delicious soup; this is it. And not having a ham bone is no excuse; I even hear that Safeway sells them so I’m betting my new and fabulous discovery is old hat to some of you. WHY didn’t you ever tell me?

PIN IT! ‘Red Lentil Soup with Ham and Curry’

Red Lentil Soup with Ham and Curry Served in a Red and Tan Print Bowl

Red Lentil Soup with Ham and Curry

Creative Culinary
A tasty and easy soup using a crockpot for cooking.
4.90 from 50 or more votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Soups and Stews
Servings 6 Servings


  • 3 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 3-4 stalk of celery sliced
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3-4 carrots sliced
  • 2 tsp curry powder I used Penzeys Spices Sweet Curry
  • 1 bag of red lentils rinsed
  • 1 ham bone
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Garnish with yogurt and crispy ham or bacon bits.


  • Heat olive oil in large pot and saute celery, onion and carrots until onion is translucent.
  • Add the curry powder and continue to saute for 2-3 more minutes.
  • Place ham bone and lentils in pot.
  • Add chicken stock to pot. Add water if necessary to make sure bone is covered. Stir all ingredients. Simmer for 30-45 minutes until lentils are softened.
  • Serve with a dollop of yogurt and some crispy ham or bacon bits.


If using a crockpot, saute vegetables and curry in a pan. Put ham bone, sauteed vegetables, lentils, stock and curry into the crockpot and cook on low overnight.


Nutrition Facts
Red Lentil Soup with Ham and Curry
Serving Size
1 grams
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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    1. You are most welcome Ashton…and I loved this very simple soup. So simple but great flavor. I have more red lentils but think I want to make it again!

  1. Thanks for your comment on my layered pudding dessert recipe – it is definitely a flashback dessert! I’m thrilled to have the link to your blog. This ham and lentil soup looks delicious (your photographs are wonderful!) and I love that you adapted it to be a slow cooker recipe. Easy and delicious!

    1. Hey thanks for coming over here too Mel. It truly was a flashback…to numerous potlucks, little kids and a whole different life with a young family. I loved your update..even have planned to make them! Good to meet you; don’t be a stranger….Barb

  2. This is such a wonderful and funny post! Hats off, babes “I’m not a writer and I don’t try to be!” And the soup – for being unphotogenic in general – is gorgeous and yes making me want to make some. The flavor must be fabulous! Perfect! Scored big!!

    1. If I tried I could be; I am self deprecating about it I know but in truth I was an English major. I want my voice, my ‘you are sitting here with me’ voice to be in the blog so I just riff; don’t plan, say what’s on the tip of my tongue. I don’t want to write as much as share my food…you know that!

    1. I met someone new at our last brunch; she’s coming over one day with camera and we’ll work a bit. Should we make it a threesome. Well, foursome?

  3. Wow that’s what I call delicious! I can’t wait to give it a try on the weekend, the recipe seems not to be too difficult. I hope I can do it:)

    1. Oh you can…so easy. Whether in crockpot or not it’s simply sauteing the vegetables and basically putting everything together in either a stovetop pot or a crockpot. You CAN do it.

    1. I’ve used curry more since discovering how amazing it is when it’s a good blend. Meaning…probably not the tin can at the grocery! This sweet curry from Penzeys was perfect.

  4. This looks divine! I think I know what we are having for dinner this week. Thanks for the yummy looking recipe.

  5. I love hearty soups this time of year and now that Mr. B enjoys lentils, this is on my list to make! Curry has become one of our favorite seasonings, too. This looks delicious, Barb!

  6. Lovely dish, thanks Barbara, and perfect for the deliciously snowy weather we are having here in Vancouver, but not so much for the heat back home in Adelaide so I’ll file it away for later in the year.
    When you say “1 bag of red lentils”, roughly how much would that weigh?

    1. I should have noted that measure Amanda but I’m thinking it was probably 12-16 ounces. If I get another bag soon and remember, I’ll make sure to add that info to the recipe.

    1. Did you, huh huh? I have red lentils on the list; now want to try some other things with them. If I can remember where I bought them!

    1. It’s very subtle and I did use sweet curry but it would be good even without or with the addition of some spice you do love.

  7. Some of the best soups in the world start out with a ham bone, don’t they? But I swear I never knew you could go out and buy one! Honestly. I’ve always waited until I had one as leftovers. Sometimes I even cook a ham just so I can use the bone for soup. Well, no more! I’m calling my grocery today to ask about getting a ham bone from them.

    1. I hope you were successful. I just finished the last of this soup today…now wondering what else I could make with ham cause I want MORE!

  8. We did, from time to time, go out when we were kids… but, like you, my mom was a good cook and she enjoyed it… so we took the majority of our meals at home, gathered around the kitchen table (the way it should be).

    This soup looks marvelous and so so comforting.

    1. We ate every dinner at our round kitchen table; never in front of the TV…oh wait, I take that back. We ate at a picnic table outside a lot during the summer too. Now…with six kids I can’t say it was always a warm family moment but it was a warm family ritual. 🙂

  9. I love the different soup links you share, my hubby and I are craving soup lately! Your lentil soup would make my hubby very happy, he adores curry:-) Beautiful! Hugs, Terra

    1. The little bit of sweet curry made such a difference in this soup…well, I’m sure that ham helped too but it was the curry that was the big star!

    1. Thank you Jeanne…finishing off with some of my own cured bacon did not hurt I must admit. 🙂

  10. You could also put the onion, celery, carrot, olive oil and spice in the microwave for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to the crock pot.

    Some of those dinner basics (burgers, spaghetti) were regulars at our house too.

    1. I guess you’re right but you know what…I never use the microwave to saute veggies. Guess I prefer that bit of caramelizing that occurs. I love caramel; I want it EVERYWHERE!

    1. Sometimes the best part of having people who comment append their links is seeing their latest post that I might have missed. That Veg Mushroom Stew of yours sound wonderful!

  11. I am going to have to track down red lentils. I’ve only tried brown. This looks delicious Barb, cannot wait to try it. And if I had six kids I’d NEVER go out, LOL. Three is tough enough =) I worry more about the people around me, who are just trying to have a nice meal having to hear them!

    1. They were just in my regular grocery the last time I was there. It is a different flavor too but love both of them.

  12. Barb – this soup looks absolutely amazing. It looks like the perfect way to warm up from the bitter Ohio cold, so I am definitely going to make it in the very near future. Thanks for the tip about the ham bone – our market has a Honey Baked Ham store inside, and this though never occurred to me!

    1. Let me know if they have them there too…I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to realize that Jamie; I never want to buy a whole ham…it’s WAY too much meat but a ham bone? I could go there once a month during the winter I think!

  13. Growing up, our family of nine never went out to dinner either and fish was our Catholic household always had fish on Fridays (‘cept me who can’t eat fish). Mom often made soup from ham bones but she never made this red lentil one. I’m sure she and my Dad would have loved this.

    1. Same reason we had fish…though my Dad was the Catholic but I don’t think my mom had a problem with knowing how easy dinner would be once a week either. 🙂

  14. It does sound like we grew up in the same household. I always loved fish stick Friday myself and still do on occasion. I’m so glad you enjoyed my white bean soup. Soup made from the bone is almost the best part of a ham. I’m so glad you did the discovery on the HBH bones. They are so good. I see lots of soup in my future and this great recipe will certainly be one of them. I love the addition of the curry powder.

    1. Well, when your aunt is called Sister Mary Lizette, fish sticks were going to be a given. 🙂 Still…we loved them. I like fish and chips..close right?

    1. I’ve never done it before either Heather…but the curry was new and it seemed to fit and it was sooooo good. One of those meant to be moments!

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